Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Week

Buenos Dias familia!!!!!!

Wow. It has been almost a week already. It really is true what they say. The days are FOREVER LONG, but the weeks fly by. I am having the most interesting, wonderful, crazy, beautiful, spiritual, amazing experience of my life already. Things down here are so different from what I expected, but I am so happy to be here and I have felt the hand of the Lord already working in my life. So.... I´m going to kind of organize this letter or else i will just blabber on forever and ever and ever.... 

First experience: We arrived at the airport and the only English we heard was from ourselves. Weird. The signs were all in Spanish and we had to go through a bunch of immigration and customs and everything and it was kind of stressful... but we figured it out! The part that kind of stunk was that the MTC people weren´t there to pick us up yet so we just sat as a big group of gringos chilling in the lobby of the airport. That was kind of when it hit me that I was on a mission in a foreign country! We eventually got picked up and made it to the CCM ( spanish for MTC) it is pronounced Say Say Emmay.

We were told that we are the first group of North American´s to ever come here!!! PIONEERS! Holla...  Any way.. most of the Latina missionaries didn´t show up until the next day, so we didn´t get our roommates until then. They are two AMAZING girls from Nicaragua and Bolivia! Hermana Castana is from Nicaragua and is so adorable, and Hermana Zalaya is from Bolivia and she gets along really well with me...(we stay up too late trying to communicate in spanish ha ha). Anyway they always sit with us at lunch and we are able to talk with them and communicate really well... I think my spanish has graduated to Cafe Rio status... I´ve graduated from Taco Bell!!!! Ha ha. The first few days I cried a lot because I was getting so frustrated with spanish.. Learning languages is definately not one of my talents, and my companion, Sister Phelps knows spanish super well... It stressed me out only being able to understand 20 percent of what was being said and only knowing how to say 3 words. This was the time that I really started to pray hard about something... I think my laid back attitude and chill chillness doesn´t really work with Hermana ¨Phelp´s BYU-I personality, so it takes extra work. I suggested we sit down and talk about how we can communicate better about what we can do to get along, and we did. I also read a lot about loving others, and what I could do to be slow to anger. I think it was a HUGE leap of success on my part, because I found a way to love her and get along with her. I am so happy to have her as my companion even though we have those moments. 

Okay, so this leads to the teaching part of the CCM... Its hard. We have to speak in spanish ALL the time for every lesson! and we teach 3 investigators a day... with 3 different lessons. Its sooooo much work to come up with these lessons with a companion with different opinions and to be able to express my thoughts through spanish. It is a real test of how hard I need to work. Im just saying I am working sooooooo hard and I am trying to be the best missionary that I can! Each day my spanish improves.. and I am better at teaching. I think I went on a Spanish speaking mission to become more humble. If I was teaching in English... I think I would be awesome. its easy for me. Spanish..... is. not. So, Spanish was the Lord´s way of teaching me humility! 

Okay! for the food here....... Let´s just say I miss American food sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much! I think I have lost like 10 pounds, because I just don´t eat that much. There is no salad dressing except for oil, and sometimes lemons. MOstly its mashed potatoes, or rice with some sort of meat... No Me Gusta!!! The desserts are good though! and there is jello at every meal!!! Ha ha! but I do really crave a popsicle, or a smoothie soooo bad!!! 

Lets see what else....our schedule is wake up at 7, personal study together, eat breakfast, exercise (i like this a lot, except for i want to play soccer and the guys are always playing... really intensely so i never join in because someone always gets hurt!), shower, class, another  class, another class, lunch, another class, another class, another class, another class, dinner, another class, another class, another class, and bed at 11 (usually ends up being 12 or 1). I have NEVER slept this well in my entire life. Mom, I found the cure for insomnia.... its called a mission ha ha. 

Umm... lets see.. all our Maestros are absolutely wonderful.. they are working on their english so they speak in spanish a majority of the time... this actually helps me. One thing i am having a hard time with is the fact that they tell us to invite investigators to be baptized on the first lesson. I struggle with this, because I don´t want to scare people away... but maybe I just need to obey and see how it works!

As far as how I am progressing and learning spiritually... It´s amazing. I never really saw my testimony as being super strong, but just this last week it has grown significantly. I bore my testimony on Sunday and I bawled... of course. I have gained such a testimony of the spirit and its ability to comfort and communicate.. Being one of the only two English speaking sisters sometimes it feels so overwhelming being surrounded with spanish, but through the spirit I have been able to get across all my love and my thoughts with the other Hermanas. They are all soooo great and they really are such a representation of what a wonderful gospel we have. I have been so humbled by them. When they ask me where I am from and I respond Soy de Utah... They ALL say ahhhh ¨"Templos", or temples! and show me there young woman medallions. they ask me if I have been to the SLC temple, and what it is like. There are many of them that have not been able to go to the temple because they live so far away and don´t have enough money to travel. I feel so guilty for not taking advantage of the convenience of the temples in Utah. I hope that you guys can make it a goal to go more, because there are so many people that want that blessing so bad! I am so grateful to go to the temple with them tomorrow for their first time! 

Oh yeah! that reminds me the view from my room is AMAZING! the CCM is on the temple grounds, and from my window is a courtyard with a fountain and beautiful plants and palm trees, and the temple. It is so wonderful...I wanted to put pictures on, but I cant do that until I enter the mission field. Don´t worry mom... I´m taking pictures!!!!

I have to go because we only have 2 hours for our P Day... its not a day, but like a little session of time, and I have to go shop and do other things. Just know that I absolutely love all of you, and I feel your prayers! I am so grateful for this gospel, and the chance to be in Chile. I already love the people and I am excited to get out and do the work! I miss you more than i can even express, but I know that I am supposed to be here, and that I am helping other people´s families be together for eternity. I can´t wait to read your emails next Tuesday and to talk to you about my experiences from this upcoming week! I love you all!

oops.. one more thing. I wanted to share  a story with you to brighten your day! We were at the park for exercise time (they have exercise equipment built into the park by the way... like playgrounds but for adults. its awesome) and we were playing volleyball, and a stray dog came and started chasing our ball! He was hilarious! He did that for a good 20 minutes... we couldn´t really even finish our game! Then he came up to me and I pet him on his head and he rolled over on his back just like Dax does and I sat there rubbing his belly for like 5 minutes. I felt so bad he didn{t have a good family to belong to.. but I think I made his day! He sure made mine! 

I love you guys with all my heart!

Hugs and kisses
Hermana Sommerfeld

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